Matchups for Tuesday, Nov. 4
All times are ET.
Key: Opp. PPG = Points per game allowed to opponents. Opp. FGP = Field goal percentage allowed to opponents. RPG Diff. = The difference between team's rebounds per game and its opponents' rebounds per game.
Vince Carter, SG/SF, Nets (hand)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Vince Carter needed an X-ray on his injured left hand after Saturday's contest, but he is not expected to be limited when the Nets take on the Suns on Tuesday night. If for some reason his hand gives him problems, Devin Harris will be asked to shoulder more of the offensive load. Phoenix may have a 2-1 record, but this isn't your old fantasy-friendly Suns we're talking about, at least not yet. Leandro Barbosa, Raja Bell and Boris Diaw are still trying to find their rhythm in Terry Porter's system, and while they should improve as the season progresses, they cannot be trusted in fantasy leagues just yet. The Celtics and Rockets will do battle in what is sure to be a low-scoring affair between two of the league's best defenses. With the way these defenses have been playing, it would not be surprising if the stars from both lineups fail to live up to expectations. With Manu Ginobili on the shelf, Tim Duncan (29.5 PPG, 8.0 RPG) and Tony Parker (28.0 PPG, 8.0 APG) have more than picked up the slack on the offensive end. Expect the trend to continue as the Spurs have few offensive options to rely on in Manu's absence. Jason Terry may be coming off the bench, but you wouldn't know it by looking at his stats: 17.0 points, 3.5 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.5 3-pointers through two contests. Jason Kidd appears to be more comfortable running the offense in Dallas this season, and his teammates -- particularly Dirk Nowitzki, Josh Howard and Terry -- are reaping the rewards early in the season.
After struggling in his first two games, Matt Barnes showed why he was considered a sleeper pick during the preseason by dropping 21 points with 5 rebounds and three 3-pointers Saturday night. He may not be consistent on a nightly basis, but he's worth a look in deeper fantasy formats if only because he will undoubtedly find plenty of open shots with Steve Nash at the helm. It's not often that a Spurs player not named Duncan, Parker or Ginobili has fantasy value, but Roger Mason is making a case for himself early in the 2008-09 season. Acquired for his deadly 3-point jumper, Mason will get an opportunity to log around 30 minutes per night while Ginobili mends. He has already drained five 3-pointers in his first two games in San Antonio, and he figures to be a nice waiver-wire addition as a 3-point specialist at least until Manu returns to action. Josh Boone and Brook Lopez are splitting minutes in the Nets' frontcourt, but they have been able to coexist through two contests. Boone has averaged 10.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks while Lopez has put up 9.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. They'll have a tough time dealing with Shaquille O'Neal and Amare Stoudemire on Tuesday night, but both look like they'll have value for rebounds and blocks in New Jersey this season. Tony Allen isn't yet ready to be a fantasy factor in 10-team leagues, but those in deeper formats should consider adding the defensive specialist for his ability to create steals in bulk. Allen has filled James Posey's role nicely in Boston and has averaged 10.3 points and 1.3 steals in 22.7 minutes through three contests. With even a slight increase in minutes, Allen could be worthy of a roster spot in 10-team leagues.
Brian McKitish is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.